Thoughts on having been born an autie.

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I turned 26 yesterday.  I am grateful that I was born in a time before anyone could pressure my parents in myriad ways not to have me because of my genes.  By calling them irresponsible, by accusing them of bringing more suffering into the world, by telling them not to perpetuate their defective genes, by telling them horror stories, by threatening to make insurance more difficult, by overt hostility and scorn, by telling them that only the weirdo activist auties actually prefer to exist but that “real” auties live lives of constant unmitigated suffering that is surely worse than never having existed, or anything else like that.  If I have kids, I will be subjected to that pressure merely because of being autistic (in fact I’ve had people tell me I should be sterilized starting when I was a teenager, and the only doctor I dared to talk to about possible pregnancy in the future showed me a display of sheer bigotry), and if a prenatal test is developed, even non-autistic people will be subjected to that pressure.  Here’s to those who fight eugenics in all its guises.

About Mel Baggs

Hufflepuff. Came from the redwoods. Crochet or otherwise create constantly and compulsively. Write poetry and paint when I can. Physically and cognitively disabled. Anything you hear in the media or gossip is likely to be oversimplified at best and wildly inaccurate at worst, the only way to get to know me is to actually know me. I'm not really part of any online faction or another, even ones that claim me as a member. The thing in the world most important to me is having love and compassion for other people, although I don't always measure up to my own standards there by a longshot. And individual specific actions and situations and contexts matter a lot more to me than broadly-spoken abstract words and ideas about a topic. My father died a couple years ago and that has changed my life a lot in ways that are still evolving, but I wear a lot of his clothes and hats every day since he died and have shown no sign of stopping soon.

18 responses »

  1. Happy birthday. I hope it was a good one.

    I’d rather be a weirdo activist autie than what they portray us to be, because I believe in truth. 5 years ago, your writing showed me the truth (I think it was 5. Maybe 6). I can’t be the ONLY person who was moved from silence to action by your words.

    Stay a weirdo activist autie. We need you on “our side”.

  2. I also consider myself fortunate to have discovered your writing soon after I learned about autism.

    Happy birthday, and many more!

    Also, I believe you would be an excellent parent because of what you would teach your child. The world certainly needs more people with your strong and uncompromising sense of justice.

  3. Happy Birthday indeed!

    And here’s to hoping that those who value diversity of existence manage to convince the rest of the world that homogenizing the population would be a terrible detriment.

  4. Happy birthday, Amanda!

    It’s been said often that you don’t like flattery, but it’s hard to say something heartfelt without it sounding like flattery. Here it goes anyway: Because of you my eyes have been opened to so many things–not only about autism, but about life, about love, about justice, about freedom, about what it means to be human and to treat others as human beings, not just objects based on fixed ideas based on unreality. I have referenced your writings many times and never hesitate to refer others to what you have written. You are deeply appreciated and respected in this community of bloggers and beyond, and I just wanted to take this rare opportunity to say thank you.

    P.S. I would have tagged you had I been tagged! :)

  5. hey there…..happy belated birthday. I just got back from vacation…I definitely missed reading your words while I was away. I had computer class and Oceanography today….first day of school. I definitely found oceanography to be more interesting…..thank goodness it’s quiet in this library computer lab, everywhere else is a zoo! My head is spinning…..I am in overload mode already…..trying to type this without the letters jumping all over the place in my mind…my eyes are having trouble with that bouncing….

    writing this as Ivan only. that’s 67 percent of me….and right now I am functioning at 50 percent level (that’s being generous, heh) Athena starts to be present at 68 percent functioning level…..

    take care, hope you had a good day on your birthday.

    Ivan.

  6. I started digging around a little bit today on the subject of forced sterilization of those deemed to be “incapacitated” (insane, retarded, etc., etc., you know…), and I’m trying to find out if any of this is still going on behind the scenes like some dirty little secret and/or if there are legal loopholes within the new enlightened legislation (since around 1969, from what I have gathered so far) that still make it quite possible to do this to people. Do you have any information on what goes on inside institutions in terms of forced sterilization?

    Someone in my group was saying that he is more concerned about that than about the prospect of fetal eugenics. I still think it would be easier to force fetal eugenics than adult sterilization.

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